Nuts, raisins and berries have always been the popular choices when it comes to dessert toppings. But things are changing now. A growing number of home chefs and bakers are opting for edible flowers to decorate their desserts. And the isolation period has given them the extra time to experiment and improve their skills. Be it cookies or cakes, pictures of bright and scintillating, flower-adorned sweet eats have taken over many social media feeds, which, in turn, are also inspiring others to try it in their own kitchens. For cookbook author and blogger Nandita Iyer, a quick search on the internet about edible flowers led her to eventually whip up some interesting flower-pressed food delights. “The pictures that I saw on the internet were a visual inspiration and an absolute mood-lifter during these gloomy times. These not only encouraged me to experiment with the floral adornments, but also improvise on them,” she explains, adding, “One of my initial concerns, however, was whether or not the flower would stick to the food or would it turn brown.” She fetched the flowers from her own little garden at home.
Meanwhile, for handbag designer Shelly Sarkar, the inspiration came from one of her favourite chefs. “I love using chamomile in my cheese cakes, especially in the recipe inspired by my favourite chef, Teighen Gerard. Chamomile adds a unique flavour to the cake, while the floral garnishing makes it all the more irresistible. Using edible flowers lets you skip all that sugary icing, and makes your desserts look pretty without any fuss. In fact, it’s every home baker’s go-to trick now,” she says.
A consultant by profession, Zibi Jamal is quite passionate about cooking and baking. And for her, the whole floral affair is all about lifting your mood. “In a time like this when keeping our spirits high has become so difficult, adding colourful flowers to my cookies and cakes can add a little happiness to our family time, at least,” she says.
A word of caution… According to Nandita Iyer, one needs to be very careful while sourcing flowers for food adornments. “Avoid going to your local flower seller, because those varieties are sold mostly for other decoration purposes, and they might be sprayed with chemicals and artificial colours. So, either go to a trusted farm that sells edible flowers or just pick some from your own garden, as they are both fresh and organic,” she adds.
Flowers that can adorn your sugar eats
* Butterfly-pea flower (also known as shankhpushpi or aparajita)
* Nasturtium (the golden yellow and orange flowers). Both the leaf and flower of this variety are edible
* Garden pansy
* Gomphrena globosa (also known as globe amaranth, makhmali and vadamalli)